Fastball Shy

By Mike Schneider

Featured Art: Multiflash: Baseball Swing with Face by Harold Eugene Edgerton

Hot roller to the shortstop,
me—lean machine
of summer, scuffling
in ballfield yellow dirt.
Off like a hound I go
with my three-finger
Warren Spahn, neatsfoot-
oiled cowhide glove
to gobble that scorched
grounder & fire it
across the diamond
to Tub McMullin’s
fat-handed mitt at First.
Little League? Shit.
This is ultimate Big Time.
Who knew that stitched
leather ball could baffle
hand & eye? Wild
chance, wicked hop,
they said, nasty chop
direct to the cartilaged
bulge of my Adam’s Apple
dropped me flat, washed
me in starlight. Nerve
& muscle inscribed
with solid-state physics,
I learned to flinch & never
could unlearn that secret.
One rainy afternoon
on Heckman’s front porch
we unraveled it, yards
& yards of yarn down
to the inscrutable rubber
pill, unforgiving hard
center of the world.

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